Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati turned 61 on Sunday. The Dalit daughter of India might have celebrated her birthday in a low-key manner, her life sure has been full of glittering success and challenges. Here is a glimpse at the life of Uttar Pradesh's political stalwart.
Kumari Mayawati or Behen Mayawati, as he is fondly called by her supporters, was born to Prabhu Das and Ramrati on Jan 15, 1956. Her journey has been a woman’s trek through thick and thin to the very top.
Born in a poor Dalit family UP's former CM got herself educated, made her way into politics, and cemented herself as a political star. Mayawati has advocated her support in favour of reservation for the lower and backward castes. Her party workers and millions of Dalit supporters call her as "Behenji".
Mayawati first met well-known Dalit politician Kanshi Ram in 1977. Following the meeting, Ram advised that Mayawati join politics. In 1984, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was formed by Ram and Mayawati was inducted as a member of the party. Since 1984, there has been no looking back for Mayawati, who has been the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, four times.
Mayawati contested the Lok Sabha assembly elections in 1989 and was elected as the member of Parliament for the first time. In 1994, she became a member of the Rajya Sabha for the first time. In June 1995, she created history by becoming the first-ever Dalit woman in India to serve as the Chief Minister in the state of Uttar Pradesh.The Dalit icon has been known for her active movement for the Dalit upliftment. In 1997, she was again appointed as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. On May 3, 2002, she was elected as the chief minister of UP for the third time.
In 2007, Mayawati was nominated as the CM for the fourth time and remained so in power till March 2012. During the 2014 Assembly elections, BSP lost majority to Samajwadi Party. She is currently serving as a Rajya Sabha member in the Parliament.